New Delhi: The government on Thursday justified the ban imposed on Zakir Naik's NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), saying that the controversial Islamic preacher has been proclaiming that every Muslim should be a terrorist.
Zakir Naik has been extolling Osama bin Laden and claiming that if Islam had indeed wanted, 80 percent of Indian population would not have remained Hindus, added the government.
In a gazette notification, issued two days after the Union Cabinet decided to ban the Islamic Research Foundation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Home Ministry said the IRF and its members, particularly, the founder and its president Zakir Naik, has been encouraging and aiding its followers to promote or attempt to promote, on grounds of religion, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities.
"The central government has received information that the statements and speeches made by Zakir Naik, the President of IRF are objectionable and subversive in nature as he has been extolling the known terrorists like Osama bin Laden, proclaiming that every Muslim should be a terrorist and claiming that if Islam had indeed wanted, 80 percent of Indian population would not have remained Hindus as they could have been converted `if we wanted` by sword, justifying the suicide bombings, posting objectionable comments against Hindu Gods, claiming that Golden Temple may not be as sacred as Mecca and Medina and making other statements which are derogatory to other religions," the notification said.
The Home Ministry said through speeches and statements, Naik has been promoting enmity and hatred between different religious groups and inspiring Muslim youths and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts.
It said such divisive ideology is against India's pluralistic and secular social fabric and it may be viewed as causing disaffection against India and thereby making it an unlawful activity.
"Statements of some terrorists arrested in the terrorist attack incidents or arrested ISIS sympathisers revealed that they were inspired by the fundamentalist statements of Naik, clearly indicating the subversive nature of his preachings and speeches," the notification issued by Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Sudhir Kumar Saxena said.
The Central government is of the opinion that the aforesaid activities of the IRF and its president Zakir Naik are highly inflammatory in nature and prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between various religious groups and communities, the Home Ministry notification said.
"...If urgent steps are not taken there is every possibility of many youth being motivated and radicalised to commit terrorist acts leading to promoting enmity between different religious groups.”
"The Central government, having regard to the above circumstances, is of the firm opinion that it is necessary to declare the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an unlawful association with immediate effect," it said.
(With PTI inputs)